A CIGARETTE ban across Warrnambool’s sports grounds has gained unanimous support from city council, with calls to extend the smoke-free zone.
The ban has been in place since early April and covers council property including playgrounds, the city swimming pool, football ovals and cricket grounds. The council allocated $15,000 towards the initiative this financial year with an additional $5000 grant supplied by the state Health Department.
Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh said the council had gone above and beyond the requirements stipulated by the state government under amendments to the Tobacco Act 1987 instituted last year.
“There’s been social change on cigarettes under way for some time, but I think more and more people want to see it curbed in public spaces,” Cr Neoh said.
“I don’t think we’ll see it stamped out overnight but the clubs and sporting organisations have been really supportive and I think we’ll see that follow through to the membership level as well.
“Council officers should be congratulated for going beyond state regulations to do what we can to make sporting events safer.”
Cr Peter Hulin said the city’s smoke-free zone should be extended to incorporate other public places including the Civic Green and Lady Bay beach.
“I grew up with a father who smoked and it eventually killed him, so I know exactly what an insidious thing smoking is,” Cr Hulin said.
“The problem is, and you can see it around Warrnambool, is that people still are victims of passive smoking.
“There’s almost a cloud of smoke most days around the Koroit Street bus stop, so we need to expand these bans to other areas in the future.”